The Coastal Plain aquifers of New Jersey provide an important source of water for more than 3.5 million people. In 2013, groundwater withdrawals from 10 confined aquifers of the New Jersey Coastal Plain totaled about 190 million gallons per day. Steadily increasing withdrawals from the late 1800s to the early 1990s resulted in declining water levels and the formation of regional cones of depression in many confined Coastal Plain aquifers. Starting in 1978, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) began mapping the potentiometric surfaces of the major confined Coastal Plain aquifers every 5 years to provide a regional assessment of groundwater conditions.
In a study conducted by the USGS, in cooperation with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, water levels in 10 confined aquifers of the New Jersey Coastal Plain were measured and evaluated to provide a regional overview of groundwater conditions during fall 2013. Water levels were measured in 987 wells in New Jersey, and parts of Pennsylvania and Delaware. Potentiometric-surface maps were prepared for, in ascending order of age, the confined Cohansey aquifer of Cape May County, Rio Grande water-bearing zone, Atlantic City 800-foot sand, Piney Point aquifer, Vincentown aquifer, Wenonah-Mount Laurel aquifer, Englishtown aquifer system, and the Upper, Middle, and Lower aquifers of the Potomac-Raritan-Magothy (PRM) aquifer system.
Persistent, regionally extensive cones of depression were present in the potentiometric surfaces of the Englishtown aquifer system and Wenonah-Mount Laurel aquifer in Ocean and Monmouth Counties; Wenonah-Mount Laurel and Upper, Middle, and Lower PRM aquifers in Camden County; and Atlantic City 800-foot sand in Atlantic County. Changes in water levels from 2008 to 2013 were measured in many Coastal Plain aquifers in New Jersey. In some areas, water levels continued to decline as a result of pumping, but in other areas water levels continued to recover as a result of regulated decreases in groundwater withdrawals. Since 2008, in the confined Cohansey aquifer in Cape May County, water levels generally did not change; however, cones of depression in the potentiometric surface of the Piney Point aquifer in some areas of Cumberland County deepened by more than 20 feet (ft). In Critical Area 1, an area of restricted withdrawals, measured water levels in the Wenonah-Mount Laurel aquifer declined in parts of southern Monmouth County by more than 10 ft; however, rises in water levels of more than 10 ft were measured in parts of northern Ocean and Monmouth Counties. Since 2008, in Critical Area 2, also an area of restricted withdrawals, measured water levels in the Wenonah-Mount Laurel aquifer rose more than 20 ft in parts of western Burlington County and more than 20 ft in parts of western Camden County. Since 2008, in Critical Area 1, measured water levels in the Englishtown aquifer system declined in parts of eastern Ocean County by more than 10 ft and in southeastern Monmouth County by more than 20 ft; however, rises in water levels of more than 10 ft were measured in other parts of Ocean and Monmouth Counties.
In general, since 2008 in Critical Area 2, in the Upper PRM aquifer, measured water levels continued to rise by 10 ft or more in central and western Burlington and central Camden Counties. In the Middle PRM aquifer in Critical Area 2, measured water levels rose in parts of central Camden County by 10 ft or more. However, measured water levels in the Lower PRM aquifer in Critical Area 2 were more than 10 ft lower in the center of the cone of depression in central Camden County, but measured water levels continued to rise updip from this area in Critical Area 2.
Seasonal water-level fluctuations are presented in time-series hydrographs for 77 wells during 1978–2013. Analyses of long-term water-level changes for the period 2008–13 indicate downward water-level trends at 14 wells (18 percent), upward trends at 34 wells (44 percent), and no substantial change at 29 wells (38 percent). Downward trends were most often observed for wells screened in the Piney Point aquifer and the Atlantic City 800-foot sand. Upward water-level trends were most often measured for wells screened in the PRM aquifer system. Upward water-level trends also were measured for wells in the Englishtown aquifer system and the Wenonah-Mount Laurel aquifer in Critical Area 1 in some areas; however, downward trends and no substantial changes were measured in other areas.
|Title||Water-level conditions in the confined aquifers of the New Jersey Coastal Plain, 2013|
|Authors||Alison D. Gordon, Glen B. Carleton, Robert Rosman|
|Publication Subtype||USGS Numbered Series|
|Series Title||Scientific Investigations Report|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||New Jersey Water Science Center|